Scout leader dismissed for comparing Muslim colleague wearing a niqab to Darth Vader
A scout leader has been dismissed from the organisation after he compared a Muslim colleague wearing a niqab to Darth Vader.
However, Brian Walker now says he is suing the Scout Association over his sacking.
The assistant Explorer Scout leader from Bristol entered a dispute with Scouting magazine after it interviewed a Muslim scout leader who wears a niqab.
Mr Walker, a canoeing instructor, wrote a letter to the magazine in response, saying they would ‘most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent’.
The letter went on to say that her ‘outward appearance is enough to frighten children and animals’.
The 63-year-old told the Bristol Post: ‘It was just a quip, meant to be tongue in cheek. Communication is paramount when you are a scout leader, but if they can’t see your face, how do they know who you are?’
His letter was unpublished, and the magazine’s editor replied to condemn his comments.
Four days later, he was dismissed from the association and told his membership would be cancelled immediately.
Mr Walker, who spent 12 years in the military, also said he disagreed with the magazine telling scouts to attend Pride festivals.
He accused scouting of ‘moving away from its Christian roots’ and turning ‘fluffy’.
A spokesperson for the Scout Association said: ‘We are aware of the issues raised with us by Mr Walker. However due to legal reasons we are unable to comment specifically on this case.
‘Inclusivity is at the heart of modern scouting and is a value we hold dear. We welcome young people and volunteers from all communities across the UK and we are proud of our inclusive approach to youth work.’